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Summit: Legislative Asks
The National Bike Summit unites the voices of bike advocates on Capitol Hill, highlighting critical issues and creating relationships with members of Congress that have a direct impact on biking in your community.
And we know the Summit gets results: Last year, we pushed for Congress to tell the U.S. Department of Transportation to set a national goal to reduce bicyclist fatalities. Before the end of 2014, they did exactly that. We won, thanks to hundreds of participants at the National Bike Summit.
The 2015 Summit is now only days away, and we want to share the legislative asks for this year’s event, and assist those unable to make it to make an impact from home, as well. So let’s break down what we’ll be asking lawmakers on Lobby Day next week…
National Bike Summit Asks
1. Will you support continued funding for bicycling and walking as part of a multi-modal transportation program? (House and Senate)
By asking this question, you are:
- Making the lawmaker accountable for their position -– and doing so now before a vote
- Helping us identify targets in the case we have a floor vote on continuing biking and walking funding
We are expecting a vote in May to strip bicycle funding — even basic eligibility for any funding at all — from the federal transportation bill. So it is important that we both get a sense of where Senators and Representatives are likely to vote, and that we take this opportunity to let them know there is a strong bike constituency in their district.
In the past we’ve been able to change the position of a Senator or Representative after a vote, or a negative public comment. But we want to ask the question now to ensure members of Congress know they have a strong constituency that supports this funding before they vote.
2. Will you co-sponsor the Vision Zero Act? (House)
The Vision Zero approach to traffic safety is based on the fact that all traffic fatalities are preventable, and therefore there is no acceptable level of traffic fatalities.
The Vision Zero Act (download our background document) is an incentive program that directs existing safety funding to communities that are taking this innovative approach. The bill will create a grant programs for communities with Vision Zero policies to both plan and implement Vision Zero engineering, enforcement and education projects.
3. Will you co-sponsor the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act (TAPIA)? (Senate)
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) are joining forces again to build upon and improve the implementation of their amendment to MAP-21 (the transportation bill in 2012 ) that ensure greater local control over funding decisions and priorities for these program funds.
This bill (read our background document) would improve the program through a number of small changes that will make a big difference, including making NGOs eligible for funding and removing the ‘treatment of project language’ that created additional regulatory hurdles for TAP projects.
Read more about the asks and download handouts at bikeleague.org/lobbyday.
Can’t come to the Summit but still want to help?
Even if you can’t make it to the Summit, you can support our efforts in Washington, D.C. by scheduling a district meeting with your congressional lawmaker. To do so, look up your Representative’s district office on their website, and send them a meeting request. (You can use the same letter templatewe used for the Summit — just adjust it to their district meeting.) You can also read our guide on how to host a “show me” event for congressional lawmakers and their staff in your home district. Read it here.
You can prepare for the meeting by watching the Summit webinars and downloading the Summit handouts.